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Nigel Richard reports on last year’s LBPS involvement in Glasgow’s very successful Piping Live! festival, and previews arrangements for this August’s event

THE LBPS hosted a couple of nights of piping at the Festival Club al the National Piping Centre in Glasgow during last year's Piping Live! Event. This was a new venture for us and took place during the week before the World Pipe Band Championships.

After discussion about the format with Roddy MacLeod, principal of the National Piping Centre in Glasgow and director of Piping Live!, I made a lot of phone calls to invariably absent pipers, some taking weeks to reply to messages (grumble!), but finally managed to put together line-ups for Wed and Thurs PC club nights. I set out to choose on the basis of ability and variety (ie. a mixture of Border and small pipes and styles, plus some singing, accompaniment, etc).

In the event, availability became the key factor; for example Rory Campbell and Hamish Moore were both unavailable, others said they might manage a tune but not to rely on them.

The evenings were a great success and the auditorium was full both nights after an influx of pipers and followers joined following the main concerts in Glasgow Concert Hall. Rather than list all the players I will record some highlights. Alan Macdonald, Gary West, Fraser Fifield, and Simon McKerrel all gave the sort of outstanding professional performances that we have come to expect of them.

Finn Moore gave an excellent display of tight unison playing with Sarah Hoy on Fiddle. The ladies were also well represented on pipes, with great sets from Annie Grace with Anna Murray, and Mairead Green accompanied by the stunning guitar of Anna Massie. Our own Stuart Letford represented the LBPS Committee with a fine set on small and Border pipes.


The last 40 minutes on Thursday saw Fred Morrison and Jarlath Henderson with Ali Hutton on guitar start a set, soon joined by Alan Macdonald on whistle, Kathryn Nicol on fiddle and myself on cittern, to finish off the night in a fittingly wild and untamed manner. It was a privilege to be part of that.

In many ways this is an ideal thing for the LBPS to be doing, especially with a committee already busy with other events,

because it doesn’t involve us in any significant administration - staffing regarding tickets, publicity, bar and PA is all handled by the Piping Centre. The cost of employing those pipers who are not already playing elsewhere in the Festival essentially comes out of the proceeds, so we are not financially exposed. Martin Lowe and Niall Anderson helped on the night and together we banged the LBPS drum from time to time and distributed leaflets, so we do manage to promote good bellows piping and give publicity to the society.

The one thing we did learn last year was that we had invited too many pipers for the avail- able time, and in their enthusiasm, they invariably played over time. We are doing two nights again this year, Monday the 7th and Wednesday the 9th of August. Do come along if you can, and share in a night of good fun and great piping.

Piping Live! (7-13 August) is Glasgow’s count-down to the World Pipe Championships on Glasgow. Appearing at various venues throughout the city centre, the guest list varies from “cutting edge” musicians and their bands such as Finlay MacDonald, Fred Morrison and the powerful Scots- Irish-Cape-Breton outfit Daimh, to established competition Highland pipers such as the formidable William McCallum; from top pipe bands such as Shotts and Dyke- head and Brittany’s Bagad Cap Caval to other international visitors such as the Asturian folk group Tejedor. For further details, see